Golden Shoals, Maria Carrelli
MOTR Pub, 1345 Main St, Cincinnati, OH
9pm, 21+, Free show
Based in Asheville, NC, Folk/Americana duo Golden Shoals (formerly Hoot and Holler) is starting out 2020 by bringing their soulful, yet polished combination of fiddle, banjo, guitar, and harmony singing to Ohio under a fresh moniker.
Amy Alvey (fiddle, guitar, vocals) and Mark Kilianski (guitar, banjo, vocals) present a hearty dose of traditional songs and tunes, as well as original songs and compositions. Fans of tight duo harmonies will love the tender harmonizing between Amy and Mark, which falls in line with masters like Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings. Alumni of Berklee College of Music, they infuse the polished technique of music school training with the grit and drive of musicians like Bill Monroe and Ola Belle Reed.
After 7 years of touring as Hoot and Holler, the duo starts 2020 under the new name Golden Shoals. The task of finding a new moniker, and then rebranding, has been a daunting but necessary move, and ultimately a liberating shift. Early in Mark and Amy’s career, they started experiencing confusion with other bands, events, and companies called “Hoot and Holler” or some iteration thereof. Confusion among fans and the press increased through the years, and a rebranding offered the only path of relief. After months of brainstorming, searching through song lyrics and literature, and scouring the internet for similarities to contending names, Golden Shoals offered the possibility of a unique brand, and a blank slate for Mark and Amy to let their music define their name, and not the other way around.
The coastal imagery of a shoal acts as a nod to the origins of these two musicians – Amy grew up in Orange County CA, and Mark in Northern NJ. A shoal is an underwater ridge whose basic structure remains intact, while the sandy outer composition constantly ebbs and flows. This duality describes a musical approach that keeps traditional roots at its core, while branching out to explore more modern sounds and textures. A shoal is also a group of fish, all moving and acting individually, but remaining close together to prevent vulnerability to predators. This duality points to the duo’s ability to create a cohesive sound, while highlighting the uniqueness of each musician as an instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter, and storyteller.
Kris Truelsen, founder of WBCM Radio Bristol puts it simply: “Golden Shoals bridge the sometimes distant worlds of traditional bluegrass and old time music together. With one foot steeped in tradition and the other focused on fresh songwriting, Golden Shoals are helping to further the narrative of American Roots music and introducing the traditions of our past to a whole new generation of listeners.”
Golden Shoals has toured the continental US, from San Diego to Seattle, Michigan to Maine, from the sea to the mountains, the valleys to the plains, and everywhere in between. They have brought their show to Australia, the UK, and Germany as well. Highlights include opening for Bluegrass juggernaut Ricky Skaggs, being featured on Paul Brown’s podcast “Across the Blue Ridge”, and performing and teaching at the finest roots music festivals in the US and beyond, including Shakori Hills, Wide Open Bluegrass, Oldtone, Dorrigo, Majors Creek, Whispering Beard, Portland Old Time Gathering, New England Americana Festival, Blackpot, and Omagh Bluegrass Festival.
Mark and Amy have taken prizes in guitar, banjo, fiddle, and band contests in Galax, VA; Mt. Airy, NC; Surrey Country, NC; Flagpond, TN; Pickens, SC; and Clifftop (the WV Appalachian String Band Festival). Their first full-length album under the name Golden Shoals is due out in May 2020, with anticipation building steadily.